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Echoes of the Rebellion

The Year 1798 in Twentieth-Century Irish Fiction and Drama


Radvan Markus

The 1798 Rebellion, a watershed event in Irish history, has been a source of both inspiration and controversy over the last two centuries and continues to provoke debate up to the present day. The ongoing discussion about the meaning of the Rebellion has not been limited to history books, but has also found vivid expression in Irish fiction and theatre.
The product of extensive research, this study provides a comprehensive survey of historical novels and plays published on the topic throughout the twentieth century, comparing them with relevant historiography. It draws attention to a number of outstanding but often neglected literary works, bringing together materials written in both English and Irish. Employing important theoretical concepts such as Derrida’s ‘spectre’ and Hayden White’s tropological view of history, the book probes the relationship between historiography and fiction to shed light on their interplay in the Irish context, including the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland. This investigation illuminates a number of broader questions, including the most pressing of all: in what way should we deal with the ‘spectres’ of the past and their complex legacies?
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‘A Lady’, The Rebel: A Tale of the Times (1799; repr. Dublin: P. Wogan, W. Porter, J. Rice, J. Halpen, H. Colbert, B. Dornin, G. Folingsby, and J. Stockdale, 1801).

Andrews, Elmer, ‘The Will to Freedom: Politics and Play in the Theatre of Stewart Parker’, in Okifumi Komesu and Masaru Sekine, eds, Irish Writers and Politics (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1989), 237–69.

Bakhtin, Mikhail, ‘Discourse in the Novel’, The Dialogic Imagination, tr. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981).

Beiner, Guy, ‘Modes of Memory: Remembering and Forgetting the Irish Rebellion of 1798’, in Oona Frawley, ed., Memory Ireland, Vol. 1: History and Modernity (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 2011), 66–83.

——, Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2007).

Bell, Sam Hanna, A Man Flourishing (Belfast: The Blackstaff Press, 1973).

Bennet, Louie, A Prisoner of His Word (Dublin: Maunsel, 1903).

Berninger, Mark, Neue Formen des Geschichtsdramas in Grossbritannien und Irland seit 1970 (Trier: WVT Trier, 2006).

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